The smartwatch market seemed to have quiet down a lot since the hype started a few years ago. Many electronics manufacturers all came up with their style of smartwatches, but none lasted perhaps due to the lack of adoption and support. Pebble was one of those watches that made a difference but gave up on their dream and was sold to Fitbit. Yes, I’m still sore about it.
Along came TicWatch, a product of Mobvoi, a Chinese company backed by Google. After making progress in their initial products like TicWatch Classic, S and E, this year, Mobvoi decided to take the plunge for something higher-end.
We are referring to the TicWatch Pro, the latest smartwatch, and possibly the only featured packed premium smartwatch launched this year.
The TicWatch Pro has a rounded watch face with a 1.39-inch AMOLED 400 x 400 + FSTN display. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 and is operated by Google’s Wear OS. It comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage that should be enough for tonnes of watch faces and apps.
I don’t find that the TicWatch Pro is heavy or bulky. In fact, it only felt a few grams heavier than my Apple Watch, which is neglectable.
Throwback a few years ago, analogue watches that only have one function were heavier than the TicWatch Pro.
Hence, to me, the weight of the smartwatch is reasonable with the tech inside it.
The straps are made up of two different types of texture. On the surface is a leather-like material and at the bottom, which wraps the wrist, is made of rubber that makes the watch comfortable to wear for an extended period.
The Displays and Battery Life
Two key marketing points set the TicWatch Pro apart from the rest of the competition. Not only that, but they also raised the bar for future smartwatches in the market.
First is the two layers of display on the watch and the second is the long-lasting battery life.
At the surface of the watch is a Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic (FSTN) LCD that reflects necessary information like time, steps, date and battery life. Mobvoi calls this the Essential Mode, which keeps the watch running for up to 30 days, according to the Chinese company.
Right below it is the AMOLED display, which is the one that welcomes us into the world of colours. It shows the watch face that we set, our activities and allows us to access our apps. These are also what drains the battery.
Hence, by default, the watch is set with the Essential Mode, and the AMOLED display is only activated when woken up.
It is exactly the setting I prefer as well because it doesn’t make sense to buy a smartwatch to conserve the battery and not use the smart apps.
As expected, I had to charge my watch using their proprietary charger every day, but I’m used to it since I own an Apple Watch. To be honest, don’t we all charge our smartphones daily too just in case it runs out of juice? The same logic applies here.
One thing to take note is that if you run or use any of the smart apps like Fitness, you should expect a faster drop in battery life. A 45-minute run reduced the battery life from 100 per cent to 65 per cent.
GPS and Exercising
Speaking of running, the TicWatch Pro does not have an internal GPS. Instead, it requires assistance from your smartphone, which is called AGPS, in short for Assisted GPS. It’s quite a bummer because I’m a runner that likes to run hands-free. But it’s no dealbreaker.
One useful thing that I should mention is that during a run, while the watch tracks your heart rate, it also tells the workout zone that you are at.
For example, if you run at a specific heart rate, the watch will show if you are at the aerobic, cardio or anaerobic zone. For fitness buffs, this will come in handy when they train for their goals. I believe the zones are estimated through the health information you input into the watch and app.
With the Mobvoi application, you can also track your progress like standing, walking and running with their coloured rings, which reminds me so much of the Apple’s version.
Thanks to the Wear OS by Google, the TicWatch Pro is blessed with apps. Plenty of it.
To name some, the smartwatch supports apps like Spotify, Google Pay, Google Fit, Telegram, Messenger and more.
You can also talk to the Google Assistant or take a phone call, which to date, I still find it awkward to do so.
Frankly, I didn’t expect a lot from the TicWatch Pro, but it did exceed my expectations.
It has a long-lasting battery, comes with a well-supported app eco-system, and is equipped with features for exercise-enthusiasts. The TicWatch Pro is also compatible with iOS as well.
There was one slight issue that did bug me during my review. It was the occasional drop in Bluetooth connection. But it could be an isolated case for the set that I had.
For USD249.99 (SGD340.05), the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro is a little steep. However, with the features that are on it, it’s worth the investment.
If you are thinking of getting one, visit Mobvoi.com. The last I checked, there were only 246 pieces left.